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Merriam-Webster Declares “Science” Its 2013 Word of the Year, We Declare Merriam-Webster Our 2013 Dictionary of the Year

Someone try to use all of the top ten words in one sentence. Ready? Go!


It’s a great day for geeks of all kinds! Merriam-Webster has declared “science” as their 2013 Word of the Year, meaning word-geeks and science-geeks get to party together. While other dictionaries have been throwing around “selfie” as their trendy word of the year picks, MW knows what’s important. Let’s look at why they chose “science.”

MW released their top 10 words of the year, with “science” in the number one spot. To put the list together, MW compared lookups in their online dictionary. The words that made it to the list were ones whose lookups increased the most in 2013. It seems strange to us that “science,” a word we assumed everyone knows and loves as much as we do, was looked up so much this year, but MW Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski explained in a press release:

It is a word that is connected to broad cultural dichotomies: observation and intuition, evidence and tradition. A wide variety of discussions centered on science this year, from climate change to educational policy. We saw heated debates about ‘phony’ science, or whether science held all the answers. It’s a topic that has great significance for us. And it fascinates us–enough so that it saw a 176% increase in lookups this year over last, and stayed a top lookup throughout the year.

So there you have it. “Science” tops the list because science was all the rage in this year’s arguments. Other words on the list seem to have been impacted by news stories as well. “Cognitive” made the list, possibly due to controversy over sports injuries. The NSA scandal could be responsible for the increased lookups of “communication” and “rapport.”

The other words in the top 10 were “niche,” “ethic,” “paradox,” “visceral,” “integral,” and “metaphor.”

“Selfie” is nowhere on the list.

(via Merriam-Webster, image via screenshot)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.